“How did I get here?” is the question addressed by Capetonian jazz icon Jonathan Rubain during a show of the same name at the Baxter Theatre Centre. Accompanied by four other jazz musicians, the young Rubain, who grew up in Cape Town’s crime-ridden Hanover Park, takes the audience on a personal journey into how he discovered a love for jazz at an early age and became the acclaimed jazz musician he is today.
Not only is Rubain a talented bass guitarist, but he is evidently also a gifted entertainer and storyteller. While sharing tidbits of his childhood, music, family and church, he continuously engages with the audience, creating an intensely personal ‘living room’ atmosphere.
Rubain and his band deliver an outstanding musical tapestry of songs, interwoven with Goema and Gospel, resulting in a unique, local style of jazz. Underlined by musical inserts, songs and demonstrations of the genres that influenced him, Rubain’s performance is filled with tales of joy and heartache at the obstacles and opportunities he has faced over the years. Throughout the show, he honours the people who inspired and guided him, from his parents, via musicians such as Mac McKenzie, Robbie Jansen and Zayn Adam, to his hero Taliep Petersen.
With countless comedic anecdotes, made even funnier by Rubain’s quirky gestures and mannerisms, the show is nevertheless a sincere and touching musical account of a humble and gifted jazz musician’s journey. Heartwarming at every turn, this story reaches the core of our common human nature.
Jonathan Rubain: ‘How did I Get Here?’ runs at the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Golden Arrow Studio from 7 to 18 April 2015.